Summer road series: A travel guide for July 4th, 2024

Pink fireworks at night
If you’re planning to hit the road on or around July 4th, here are three things you need to know to travel safely and efficiently 🚘💥

We all know what July 4th looks like – it’s hanging out poolside and eating popsicles by day, then sitting out and watching firework or drone shows by night. But with kids off from school for the summer and many people taking time off from work, what do the roads look like during this hot, summer holiday?  

Using our massive dataset with a connection to more than 40M U.S. drivers, Arity’s summer road series (which started with Memorial Day) uncovers driving patterns and behaviors to help everyone travel safely and efficiently throughout the hottest months of the year.  

Looking at the weeks surrounding July 4th last year, we found trends around when drivers hit the road and how they got from Point A to Point B. Here are three things to know.  

#1 Road trippers may travel before or on July 4th  

Last year, July 4th fell on a Tuesday, creating an opportunity for a long weekend if people had Monday and Tuesday off from work. Likely because of this, we saw more miles driven per person than normal the Friday and Saturday before the holiday last year – indicating that some people hit the road at their first opportunity. 

Miles driven was much lower on July 4th and then elevated again on Wednesday, July 5th, indicating people travel less on the holiday, but may have headed home the day after the festivities.

Graph showing miles per daily connection on July 4th and surrounding days in 2023

This year, the holiday is falling on a Thursday, which means there’s another opportunity for a long weekend if people have Thursday and Friday off from work. If we see similar patterns this year and people hit the road as soon as they get a chance, the roads may be busier than normal the day before the holiday.  

However, the holiday itself is more uncertain. While people might hit the roads on their first day off from work, people also may opt to stay in for the holiday – both of which are patterns we saw in last year’s data.  

#2 There’s an uptick in speeding the morning of July 4th  

In 2023, we saw increased speeds on July 4th compared to normal. This dangerous driving behavior was especially prevalent during the morning rush hour from 5 a.m. – 9:59 a.m. In fact, high speeding (traveling over 80 mph) increased 44% and very high speeding (traveling over 100 mph) increased 100% during that time period.  

While we typically see more high-speed driving later at night, last year July 4th started off with an uptick in speeding in the morning and remained higher than normal throughout the day, which is likely correlated to less traffic on roads.

Graph showing miles driven at 80+ mph one July 4th, and Tuesdays before and after in 2023


Graph showing miles driven at 100+ mph one July 4th, and Tuesdays before and after in 2023

#3 Distracted driving is heightened on July 4th  

When we look at the weeks surrounding July 4th, 2023, the holiday itself saw the most distracted driving. The uptick in this risky behavior was driven solely by increased phone use during the already risky late-night period (11 – 4:59 a.m.), with a 47% increase compared to normal.  

Graph showing distracted driving frequency on July 4th, and the Tuesdays before and after in 2023

While this may be correlated to people trying to capture and record the late-night firework and drone shows, phone handling behind the wheel is a dangerous driving behavior nonetheless and increases drivers’ chance of getting into an accident.  

Arity in action 

With the world’s largest driving behavior dataset tied to insurance claims, Arity has a unique historical understanding of driving behaviors, risk, and outcomes. And as holidays,special events, andunexpected incidentsinevitably disrupt how we all get from Point A to Point B, we strive to empower people, businesses, and government agencies with the insights needed to manage those shifts. 

Want to learn more? Check outthis blogwith an update on what’s happening on our roadways from our President Gary Hallgren. 



About Arity’s source data 

Arity’s multi-source dataset with more than 40 million active connections includes anonymized and aggregated driving behavior data collected throughconsumer mobile apps,insurancetelematics, and on-board device (OBD) programs. 

Because the data is from multiple insurance and non-insurance sources and is not solely reflective of any Arity affiliate companies or any other particular industry or source, we really get a sense of how people are moving, where they are going, when, and how. Arity is connected to millions of U.S. drivers, so we have a credible representation in every state and demographic (e.g., families, single vehicles, rural, cities). 

Keep in mind that although a majority of the trips Arity collects are personal trips, we have the capability to decipher between personal trips, gig driving, and non-driving impacts. 

Because Arity collects various driving behaviors within a trip, we can evaluate trends such as speeding, braking, acceleration, phone handling, and the time of day someone drives. Additionally, fueled by the largest telematics dataset tied to auto insurance claims, we can more accurately predict the impact of shifting trends in the dangerous driving behaviors that we described in this report.  

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Arity is a mobility data and analytics company. We provide data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, enabling them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical.